The Fascinating History And Evolution Of Photography – SlashGear

To this point, photography had succeeded in capturing brief moments in time. Despite the exposures sometimes taking several seconds, minutes, or even hours, the images obtained through these early methods appeared as discrete blips, captured in amber. The next step, of course, was to capture motion.

As explained by Smithsonian Magazine, the person perhaps most responsible for pushing the issue was Leland Stanford, the founder of Stanford University. Like Maxwell, Stanford didn’t capture the resulting images himself, instead partnering with photographer Eadward Muybridge, and he did it to answer a nagging question. He wanted to know if all four of a horse’s hooves left the ground at the same time when they run.

To pull it off, Muybridge devised a complex collection of twelve cameras, each of which were triggered by a tripwire. Stanford set his horse coursing down the racetrack, pulling a cart behind it. As the wheels of the cart rolled over each of the tripwires, an exposure was taken. In only a few seconds, Muybridge had collected twelve sequential images capturing the horse in motion.

Those frames, or copies of them, could then be played in sequence using a zoopraxiscope to create the first moving image.